No hope for reconstructing historic Van Gogh Hilton house

2009-06-09 00:00

THE combined effects of insects and vandals have led to the loss of a historic building in Hilton.

In July last year, The Witness reported that one of the oldest homes in Hilton became visible after vegetation was cleared on a property beside Cedara Avenue (The Witness, July 22, 2008). The wood-and-iron house was more than 90 years old and was home to the Van Gogh family, distant relatives of the Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh.

According to Brenda Edwards (née Van Gogh) the family obtained a permit from Amafa Heritage KZN and hoped to find a buyer to either renovate the house or demolish it and rebuild it somewhere else.

That was the hope of local businessman John Jardine, who wanted to reconstruct it on his farm on the Curry’s Post road.

Unfortunately, he was not able to do so: “It was a huge disappointment to find that the timber was full of borer beetle and vandals have damaged much of the rest of the house, especially the roof. The only parts that can be used are about 10 timber beams and the tin from the walls,” Jardine said. A spokesman for Amafa said the organisation inspected the usable material from the house. Because there was not enough to reconstruct the original home, they decided in consultation with Jardine to store the items in Amafa’s materials bank for use on other renovation projects.

Edwards said the family was also sad to discover that the complete house could not be salvaged, but still hope to find a buyer for the land.

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